A Festive Feast
We present Gather’s ‘culinary greatest hits’ list for Charleston, our effusive brunch buffet that’s an enthusiastic and eclectic recap of some of the city’s most beloved establishments. From heirloom grains and heaven-sent sliders to one very hot little biscuit, this is the kind of spirited spread your friends will remember (and request) for years to come. Serving up a cohesive menu that celebrated all of our Charleston favorites was no easy feat so we settled on a “help yourself” style brunch buffet so friends could sample at their leisure… and go back for seconds.
“It’s not ladylike to eat a big biscuit!” advises Carly Morey – hence Callie’s perfectly proportioned pillows of doughy goodness. The biscuits, which are surprisingly easy to (almost!) recreate at home, are practically perfect in every other way, too.
Callie’s Hot Little Biscuits
COURTESY OF CARRIE MOREY
- 2 cups self-rising flour, preferably White Lily
- 2 tbsp salted butter, at room temperature, plus 1 tablespoon melted butter for glazing
- 1/4 cup cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole buttermilk
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Have an ungreased baking sheet ready.
Place the flour in a large mixing bowl. Use 2 forks or your fingers to cut in the butter and cream cheese, making sure not to overwork the dough; there should be pea-sized chunks and some loose flour.
Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the buttermilk. Using your hands, gradually incorporate it into the flour. The dough will be pretty wet.
Sprinkle a little all-purpose flour on the top of the dough, then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Flour the top of the dough lightly (that will make it easy to roll out but keep it extra moist inside). Roll out the dough to a 1/2-inch thickness (do not overwork the dough at this stage or the biscuits will be tough and dense). Use a 2-inch biscuit cutter to cut out biscuits, cutting them as close together as possible (to avoid having to roll the dough out more than once).
Arrange the biscuits on the baking sheet so that they are just touching (Callie’s signature method!). Brush the tops with the melted butter. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, until slightly golden brown.
Serve hot with plenty of butter alongside.
COURTESY OF The Ordinary & Brown’s Court Bakery
Our obsession with these delectable little morsels has been well-documented. While there’s no substitute for sitting in Mike Lata’s extraordinary food hall, trying to recreate the Hawaiian rolls and the crispy-spicy-tangy flavors between them brought back the best kind of memories.
For the Hawaiian Rolls:
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice (room temperature)
- 1/2 cup warm milk (100 – 110°F)
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 3 whole eggs, lightly beaten
- 6 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp fine salt
- 2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) instant yeast
- 4 1/2 cups (20 ounces) bread flour
Combine the pineapple juice, milk, melted butter, eggs, sugar, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 2 cups of the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a rough, messy mass. Attach the dough hook to the mixer and turn to medium-low speed. Gradually add the remaining flour, kneading until a dough begins to form. Continue kneading on medium-high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, until a soft and smooth ball of dough forms.
Place the dough in a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until puffy and doubled in size, about 1 hour, preferably in a warm area.
Spray a 13×9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Gently deflate the dough. Use a bench scraper or knife to divide the dough into 15 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and place in the prepared pan.
In a small bowl combine the remaining egg with 2 tablespoons of water. Brush all over the rolls. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.
Bake the rolls for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
For the Oysters:
- 10 large oysters,freshly shucked and drained
- 1 cup cornstarch
- ½ cup coarse yellow cornmeal
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp water
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced
- ½ cup julienned carrots
- ½ cup pickled onions
In a large bowl, mix together the cornstarch, cornmeal, salt, and cayenne pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Dip an oyster in the cornstarch mixture and shake off any excess coating. Dip in the egg wash, then dip in the cornstarch mixture again, shaking off any excess coating. Reserve in a single layer on a cooling rack lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining oysters.
Pour a half inch of vegetable oil into a cast-iron skillet. Heat to 370ºF. Working in batches, fry the oysters until golden brown and crispy, about one minute per side. Transfer fried oysters to a paper towel–lined cooling rack to drain. Be sure to let the temperature of the oil return to 370ºF before frying a new batch.
To assemble the sliders, slice hawaiian rolls and place single oysters on the bottom pieces. Top with cilantro leaves, sliced jalapeno, carrots and pickled onions. Place top piece on each and serve.
Sunday Sticky Buns
Inspired by WildFlour Pastry
WildFlour’s Sticky Bun Sundays are a fervently observed tradition in Charleston. One bite of these tasty treats reminds us why.
For the Dough:
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 5 tbsp sugar, divided
- 1 3/4 tsp active dry yeast (from one 1/4-ounce envelope)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut Into 1″ pieces, room temperature, plus 1/2 tablespoon, melted
For The Topping:
- 1 3/4 cups chopped pecans (about 8 ounces)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick)unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp finely grated orange zest (optional)
For The Buns:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
- All-purpose flour (for dusting)
- 1 large egg
- Coarse sea salt (such as Maldon)
Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave until an instant-read thermometer registers 110°F-115°F. Transfer milk to a 2-cup measuring cup; stir in 1 tablespoon sugar.
Sprinkle yeast over milk and whisk to blend. Let sit until yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs; whisk until smooth.
Combine remaining 4 tablespoons sugar, flour, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add milk mixture. With mixer running, add 1/2 cup room-temperature butter, 1 piece at a time, blending well between additions. Mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Knead on medium-high speed until dough is soft and silky, about 5 minutes.
Brush a medium bowl with some melted butter; place dough in bowl. Brush top of dough with remaining melted butter; cover with plastic wrap. Chill dough for 2 hours.
Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, 1-1 1/2 hours (or 2-2 1/2 hours if dough has been refrigerated).
For the topping, preheat oven to 350°F. Spread out nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until fragrant and slightly darkened, 10-12 minutes. Let cool completely. Set 1 1/4 cups nuts aside for buns. Melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, cream, honey, salt, and orange zest, if using. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until glaze is golden brown and glossy, 3-4 minutes. Pour 1 cup of glaze into baking pan, tilting to coat bottom and sides. Set aside remaining glaze. Sprinkle 1/2 cup toasted pecans over bottom of baking pan and let cool.
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and kosher salt in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Set filling aside.
Punch down dough; transfer to a floured work surface. Lightly dust top with flour.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12×16″ rectangle about 1/4″ thick. Arrange the dough on the work surface so one long side faces you. Spread the cinnamon-sugar mixture over dough, leaving a 1″ border on the side farthest from you.
Sprinkle 3/4 cup chopped pecans over the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Beginning with the long edge closest to you, roll dough into a log, tightening as you roll, and patting in ends if they begin to taper. Pinch together the seam where the long side meets the roll to seal. Arrange the log seam side down on the work surface.
Using a large serrated knife, cut the log crosswise into 9 equal pieces. Turn the buns cut side up and gently pat the top to flatten slightly. If needed, reshape to form round edges by cupping lightly floured hands around each bun and gently pushing and turning them in a circular motion. Place the buns in prepared pan; space them evenly apart (buns should not touch each other).
Loosely cover pan with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let buns rise in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, 45 minutes to 1 hour, or 1 1/2-2 hours if dough has been chilled overnight.
Arrange a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350°F. Whisk egg with 1/2 teaspoon water in a small bowl. Brush tops of buns with egg wash. Bake, rotating pan halfway through and tenting with foil if browning too quickly, until buns are golden brown, filling is bubbling, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of buns registers 185°F, about 50 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Spoon remaining glaze over. Sprinkle 1/2 cup pecans over. Let cool in pan on a wire rack.
Lightly sprinkle sea salt over. Serve buns warm or at room temperature.
Cheesy Golden Grits
Courtesy of Anson Mills
We’d be hard-pressed to find a producer more widely revered by Charleston chefs and food lovers than Anson Mills and their meticulously farmed heirloom grains. Not only are they beautifully harvested, packaged and maintained, but they yield some of the most delicious dishes we’ve ever created.
For this recipe, you will need a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan (ideally, one with gently flared sides called a Windsor pan), a small saucepan, a fine tea strainer, and a wooden spoon.
- 6 ounces (1 cup) Anson Mills antebellum coarse white grits
- Spring or filtered water
- Fine sea salt
- 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup shredded extra sharp white cheddar cheese
Place the grits in your heavy-bottomed saucepan and cover them with 2½ cups water. Stir once. Allow the grits to settle a full minute, tilt the pan, and skim off and discard the chaff and hulls with a fine tea strainer. Cover and let the grits soak overnight at room temperature. If you are not soaking the grits, proceed directly to the next step.
Set the saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the first starch takes hold, 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting and cover the pan.
Meanwhile, heat 2 cups of water in a small saucepan and keep hot. Every 10 minutes or so, uncover the grits and stir them; each time you find them thick enough to hold the spoon upright, stir in a small amount of the hot water, adding about 1½ cups water or more in 4 or 5 additions. Cook until the grits are creamy and tender throughout, but not mushy, and hold their shape on a spoon, about 50 minutes if the grits were soaked or about 90 minutes if they weren’t. Add 1 teaspoon of salt halfway through the cooking time. To finish, stir in the butter with vigorous strokes. Add more salt, if desired, and the pepper.
Top grits with cheddar cheese and place under a broiler set to HIGH for 5 minutes, or until cheese begins to bubble and become golden brown. Remove from oven and serve.